The key aspect of an unconference that makes it so special is that there is no agenda. The whole day is created and led by those who turn up. The topics and ideas to be discussed are pitched by the attendees on the day to form a session grid.
Pitches can be about anything that interests you. What are you passionate about? What are you working on that you think others can learn from? If you’re stuck for ideas for pitching please check out this great blog from Ben Proctor http://govcampcymru.org/i-got-99-ideas-and-a-pitch-is-one/.
Pitches do not have to be formal. Unconferences are for everyone and we make it work together. So please pitch even if you’re new to GovCamp Cymru or unconferences in general. It is the diverse and interesting range of topics and ideas that brings such great value to the day. Pitches do not need to be rehearsed so if you have a moment of inspiration on the day please pitch away. The only things we would ask are:
- Pitches should be short and to the point – ideally lasting less than 30 seconds
- That the pitch should include 1 clear topic/question/idea/issue.
How are the sessions created?
At the beginning of the day everyone meets together in the main room to hear the pitches. Everyone who has a pitch to make lines up and has approximately 30 seconds to pitch their idea to the room. If you have a great pitch suggestion but don’t fancy standing up in front of everyone, then we will have a pitching station where volunteers are on hand to talk through your ideas and/or pitch on your behalf. When the pitches are made, people in the audience indicate if they’re interested in each topic, so that we can estimate what size of room will be needed for each session. The pitches are written on sticky notes and added to the session grid and that is the running order for the day. There are four session blocks, 2 in the morning and 2 in the afternoon with 5 parallel sessions running in each block lasting about an hour each, spread across 5 separate rooms .
What happens in a session?
Each session takes place in a meeting room. We have various sizes of room available. There will be chairs in a circle, and one of our volunteers will be there to take notes. The assumption is that everything happens in the open, so if you don’t want to be quoted in the notes please make sure you say that clearly. The session notes will be shared so that people who couldn’t be there can find out what was discussed.
We don’t provide any other equipment for sessions (except for a few post-its notes and biros), so if you want flipcharts or any other materials to support your pitch, you will need to bring those yourselves.
We have very few rules:
Good sessions tend to:
- have someone who introduces the session and gets things going
- have a clear topic
- encourage discussion, with a chance for everyone to join
- include a few minutes at the end to close the session down
- generate ideas for things people can do after camp
If you’re considering pitching a session and have things to say yourself during the session, you could consider asking someone to act as a facilitator to keep things flowing and make sure everyone gets to speak who wants to. We’ll have a few volunteers on hand on the day who will be able to do this for you, or ask one of your friendly fellow govcampers who may be willing to help.
Still unsure about pitching? Check out these great videos from Barod: